So that’s what happened. Bachelorette finalist Peter Kraus, a clear frontrunner for the season 22 Bachelor title, reacted to the announcement of Arie Luyendyk as the new lead on Thursday, September 7. While Kraus was certainly in the running for the role, he simply wasn’t ready to move on just yet from Rachel Lindsay.
Kraus, who owns a personal training company in Madison, Wisconsin, posted a photo of himself on Instagram with a caption about the surprising choice of the former Indy 500 driver as the Bachelor. (Luyendyk, as many know, hasn’t been a franchise figure since 2012.) “#tbt to the most incredible journey of this life time that has now officially come to an end today,” Kraus wrote. “As I sit here writing this, I struggle to hold back the tears as I am overcome with emotion one last time. First and foremost.. Rachel, there are so very many things that I’ve wished I could say to you since the day we parted ways in Spain, but for everyone’s sake, I’ll keep it short… You gave me a chance and all that I can say is thank you. I have a heart filled with love for you now and always and wish you nothing but the best in your life and love ahead.”
As recalled, Kraus was a final two on season 13, but he refused to propose, leaving Lindsay in a cloud of confusion and tears. The gesture not only upset the Bachelorette, who’s now happily engaged to Bryan Abasolo. Producers were equally incensed with Kraus. “ABC, you saw something in me, but something held me back,” he wrote Thursday. “You treated me with such love and kindness and showed me glimpses of a life I never once dreamed that I could have. I will be forever humbled and grateful and will always look back at these last 6 months with an ear to ear smile, knowing that this has truly been a very special life indeed.”
Kraus has a few takeaways from the experience. “Upon leaving the @bacheloretteabc I was asked, ‘what did you learn about yourself during this process?’ And at the time I naively said ’nothing that I can think of.’ Now… looking back… I realize I learned one of the single greatest teachings of my life,” he wrote Thursday. “When you let uncertainty or fear guide your decisions, you risk missing out on what could potentially be the greatest opportunity of a life time. So live dangerously, live without the fear of the unknown, and continue to live and love with a heart that is truly open to anything.”
Corroborating the behind-the-scenes selection process was a viable source—ABC Senior Vice President of programming Robert Mills, who’s steered the franchise since sits inaugural season. “Peter was absolutely in discussion. He sort of alluded to that as well. I think at this point in his life, the breakup with Rachel was still very raw,” the network exec told Entertainment Tonight. “Sometimes you move on very quickly, sometimes you don’t. I think that, for him, there were still residual feelings there, and it was a very real breakup.”
Producers and executives, though, felt the timing was off. “I think the finale, when that aired and everything after that was also hard on Peter. I think he just didn’t know,” Mills continued. “I think Peter probably would have done it and been an amazing Bachelor, but I also don’t know if he, himself, knew if this was the time when he was ready to really do this 100 percent.”
Don’t completely rule Kraus out just yet. “I think we’ll always be in touch with Peter, and there might be a time,” Mills said. “It might be a year from now, when it’s better for him. It was all about timing. If Arie wasn’t ready, we would have looked at him, but we want it to feel right. Peter was an incredible fan favorite, which I think was great, but I also think the double-edged sword with that is, if it’s not the season that the fans want, which, you know, might have been if Peter might not have been ready to commit 100 percent, that’s also disappointing, and it would have been disappointing for Peter too.”